Notre Dame Stadium
Home of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Experience the Park Notre Dame Stadium Fan Guide
Rub Knute's Nose
One by one, fans approach, rub the statue’s nose and walk away smiling. This scene plays out over and over at Knute Rockne Memorial Gym, where pilgrims seeking good luck come to touch the bronze bust of the legendary Notre Dame coach, hoping a little of his greatness rubs off on them.
Rockne was a third-team All-American end for Notre Dame and graduated magna cum laude, staying on to teach chemistry and be an assistant coach of the football team. He was elevated to head coach in 1918 and over the next 13 seasons compiled a 105-12-5 record for the highest winning percentage in college football history (.881). Rockne won three national championships, had five unbeaten and untied seasons, and was credited with many innovations in the sport. He was also the school’s athletic director, helped design Notre Dame Stadium, wrote three books and was a popular public speaker.
Rockne was not without his critics, and the issues raised are similar to ones that swirl around college football today. Some faculty were concerned about a supposed over-emphasis on football, there were accusations that Rockne was paying players and criticism of the coach’s eager promotion of his program. None of it has tarnished his legacy.
Rockne died on March 31, 1931 when his plane crashed in Kansas as he was headed to Los Angeles to consult on a football film. He was just 43.